tv [untitled] September 29, 2013 1:30pm-2:01pm PDT
>> ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the september 23, 2013. the san francisco small business commission. the meeting is called to order. >> i will conduct a roll call. commissioner adams, here, dwight, here, o'brien, cartagena, riley, here. commissioner white? white is on her way and dooley has an excused absence. >> thank you, mr. president. item no. 2, public comment.
anyone wish to make a comment on items that are not on the agenda? >> seeing none, public comment is close. >> item no. 3, approval of the september 9, 2013, meeting minutes. >> second to approve. >> all in favor say, "aye".? >> aye. >> next item. no. 4. discussion and possible action to make recommendation to the board of supervisors on board of supervisors file 130781. we expected a presentation by earthquake and safety. this is a discussion and possible action item. but we would like to continue this to a future meeting. >> we have a motion to continue this to a future meeting. >> so moved. >> second. >> all in favor say, "aye". >> aye. >> do we have any public comment on item no. 4 before we
make that motion? seeing none, public comment is closed. now do we have a motion? >> second again. >> all in favor say, "aye". >> aye. >> thank you. that will take us to item no. 5, presentation and discussion on mobile retail and services. this is discussion only and i will be providing the staff presentation. >> thank you, mr. murdock. commissioners, thank you for having me back regarding mobile retail. i came in february and provided an initial presentation to the commission. commissioner riley requested that i come back to provide an update on the steps that have
been taken by the office of small business since then to move this concept forward. just going to provide a brief update today on the major activities that have happened since february. things are moving forward, but one step at a time. we don't want to rush forward. we want to cover each step thoroughly engaged with all the proper parties to come up with the best possible program. for those that may not beware that are viewing at home, mobile retail is a development of a new citywide program to permit retail and services from and within motor vehicles on the streets. many people maybe familiar with the mobile food program. it's the similar concept in that vehicles are involved but includes goods and services that are non-food items. it has a much wider possibility. since february we have been trying to conduct extensive merchant outreach. we have presented
information to the union association, the c bd consortium and there is a working group comprised of many different merchant groups that have not received presentations and there are presentations i made last thursday that i made to the west portal association. tomorrow evening i will present to the bay view merchants association and discuss the concept with them. one item that has come up several times from the traditional merchant community is the fairness in all aspect of the mobile retail program and one was in regards to disabled access. we engaged with the certified specialist ak -- access. they came out and conducted measurements face they were conducting business from a brick and mortar face
-- facility. all was addressed by the inspector. the focus is on readily achievable improvements like retail space. some common things as far as the design. then identifying the best way to move from the curb to the truck because most of these businesses require a customer to come up to the vehicle. as well as focusing on alternative service arrangements due to the unique challenges of getting someone in and out of a vehicle may not be possible depending on the disability. there may be notification buzzards and providing exterior changes for
those clothing retails in case they have changing room inside the vehicle. we also try to provide more data in terms of who those retailers are. there are difference in opinions. we are trying to get facts and we ask the west coast mobile retail association to pull it's membership and the figures that came back as you can see here show a typical start up cost of about $20,000 and typical monthly carrying cost have $1400-1500. we asked the mobile groups to fill out a questionnaire and how they fit into those corridors and examples of what those were. of note, this were certain goods and services missing including bicycle rental, educational tutoring services and medical
and shoe repair and pharmacy. when retail may increase for traffic. so the cited to post holiday series and as well as other weekends when other businesses are closed. as far as time limits. most folks thought there's a need for a limit but there wasn't a lot of consensus on what that should be. i want to leave it up to individual corridors. additional concern of course cherry pickier where mobile retailers can come in and leave time and date to the constituents. you can see other concerns on the screen. also from the working group, from the existing merchant members that came to city hall on two occasions now, they want a simple identifiable license so they know who the vendors are and who maybe operating in violation of the law and with
whom to contact to file complaints. they don't want the run around from anybody not in compliance with the program. we are trying to address the location standards. they want an upscale uniform or some sort of standards for the truck appearance and size. there is concerns about vehicles that are too tall, too long, or maybe in various states of disrepair that wouldn't necessarily look like they are part of a legitimate permitting program. we are trying to follow a concept for grouping mobile retail and service uses so it's easy to regulate. some merchant areas maybe more appropriate for difference mixes and goods and services. we are trying to group them to say this group makes sense and this doesn't. we have done that in six different groupings,
retail and business services, professional service, financial service and medical services and trade shops. we are trying not to reinvent the wheel. we are trying to follow the same model for something that might be in a mobile vehicle. of the groups, retail services we expect to be the biggest category. there is a couple of slides here that just sort of identify specific types of uses, of course an apparel, footwear and standard retail offerings. excluded are food programs and tobacco sales. there has been a lot of concern from merchants regarding
medical cannabis, and those aren't proposed, nor are any that require secondary license from the police department. these are other groupings, businesses and professional services, your typical professional office type of businesses. personal service, grooming, related activities. excluded from that would be tattoo parlors and massage therapist. in february, due to state law, commissioner mentioned at the last meeting regulating state certified, gets touchy when it comes to medical services. if there is an issue with this, we'll have to figure out how to
address this. limited financial services. these are financial institutions less than 200 square feet excluding atm machines. anything from tayloring and there is concerns about noise and we are identifying ways to limit by motor size to make sure we don't have large industrial types to cause problems for the neighborhood. as far as operating locations, since we came up with the concept of the different types of program, we tried to narrow it down significantly and trying to identify zoning where mobile operators maybe able to visit. we are trying to narrow it down
to specific intersection and numbers of vehicles so this is more certainty for traditional merchant groups and not much of a wild card where mobile retailers can park in front of shops and block the views. we are trying to narrow that down with more specification. some initial site criteria that develop general feedback. parking not on a main thorough fair but on a side street next to the corridor to prevent blocking from existing facades and make sure biking lanes are not blocked, not near a residential use. some angle spaces would make it difficult to get customers in and out of the vehicle. so these are just examples from the presentation that i made last thursday for
the west portal merchants. we are trying to come up for each proposed location so they can vet with each stakeholder with each area and a diagram that shows the locations. we are trying to come up with specific northeast and southeast corners, maximum of three trucks, monday through sunday and in this case only 10-6:00 p.m. so they are not conflicting with most businesses that would be open during the daytime. in this case, it may not be appropriate for any particular restrictions. that's what we are working through with the merchants. they may say we don't want to add more clothing shops. this is the sort of activity we are going through. we are developing a street shot here so they can see what we
are talking about. so as far as next steps we plan to continue working on, we need discuss permitting and reinforcement with the department of public works, police and mta for certain responsibilities and aspects. we need to refine the program guidelines. nothing set in stone. we continue to solicit feedback because everyone creating together this helps the program a lot better from where it started. we need the mobile retail operators. we spent the last several months with traditional retailers. we want to circle back with the folks that we started this process with and ultimately identify a legislative sponsor whenever the time is right. we found each time we identified a specific deadline, we needed to
get together with more stake holders. we try to do that to prepare the best possible action. >> i'm happy to answer any questions. >> commissioner dwight? >> interesting stuff. is there any city where this is working right now as to the mold -- model of mobile retail is playing out? >> we continue to learn from other cities. when we kicked often this effort, places that had similar in place, there is varying degrees depending in the city. every one i checked out was moving very cautiously. none head program where we are pushing for here. when folks agree with it or not, will vary from opinion. i think we might be on a forefront.
>> that seems really difficult than a dense city where we have already biking and bicycle and other kind of issues. the minute one of these pulls up on anyone's storefront is blocking any business. i can see some small town that doesn't have these kinds of retail boutiques and they do this small town to small town. are they going to have the same issues in new york city and chicago and in san francisco. it will be interesting to see how it plays out here and i don't know whether we are going to set an example or show everyone how it just doesn't happen. >> commissioner, riley? >> thank you for the update. i noticed the commissioners are trying to look at the screen to try to read it. can you e-mail the powerpoint to us?
>> absolutely. >> i want to know if you have looked into street artist, how their license and permits differ from what we are looking senate -- at? >> this is some that are different. we don't feel it's a correlation. they are on parked property and it's a raffle day-to-day where you are going to end up. we don't see a natural fit with the art commission oversight of this type of activity. if you do have specific elements that you think would work with this program, we perhaps could take a look and see if it benefits from a mobile retail corporation. >> commissioner, white? >> yes. are you getting any, has there been any outreach on the brick and mortar in regards
to retail from their areas? >> that's the part where i discussed about the outreach activities where we are willing and have responded to those that have asked us to come and present. it's been a mixed reception. of course there is folks that see this as a threat and there is folks that see this as an at some point to bring in new different mixes of uses. they see how it can be a positive. that's the position that we are coming from. we are not trying flood any commercial district with mobile retail vehicles. we are trying to limit the numbers so it's sensible and a compliment and not a compromise to these existing lotions. yes, the feedback, many of them have listed specific items that were concern. we are doing our best to taylor the program to respond to that. we won't be able to make everyone happy but
their feedback made it a better proposal. >> is there a process like with the merchants association where they choose to do mobile renail -- retail in their area? >> we don't have a specific process how that would work. at this point this proposal is not including any informal review by a merchant group. we are trying to get that input on the mix of goods and services for operating parameters and leave that to the mobile operator in the city. again, if there is a model that you think could work or you would like to discuss, we are happy to have that discussion with you. >> commissioner, dwight? >> yes, i think there is obviously a huge difference to between someone setting up a table and maybe a pop up tent or having a pushcart at grade level and pretty unobtrusive
whether it's 12 feet tall. then i think you have restrictions as to whether you are on a plaza or occupying certain amounts a sidewalk. i think we have already regulations for sidewalk vendors. the artist thing like in the cherryville, that's in a plaza and sometimes they do have events where they drive in vehicles. i think, this really gets to more in the merchant corridors where you are effectively pulling out front in the street in front of something and you have a large monolithic vehicle that sits there. that's where it's going get touchy. in one way, maybe there is some kind of come myself where, you know, mobile retail we think of it by definition as bringing in a truck and parking it there. maybe there is something in
between the traditional tabletop vending and this is vehicular vending that represents some kind of come myself. again, i don't see how any big city is going to accommodate vehicles and then you are going to have to really recenter incompetent the vehicle sizes with n length. >> commissioner, o'brien. >> we talk about comparing to cities, in talks of the conversation, we department of -- do have an act of mobile retail with a permitting process where you can go to apply for a permit and park in certain locations. some of these have already taken up. i want to get the context right that we are talking about a proposal that is not even born yet but something that is a work in progress right now. i'm correct in that statement, despite >> -- right?
>> i think you are referring to the mobile food program? >> yes. similar to that but there are a lot of parallels between the two, right? >> they look very similar, but the mobile food operators traditionally have wanted to operate in one location for an extended period of time, many hours a day for years at a time. we haven't received that time request or interest from mobile retail and operators. they are looking to come periodically based on the season or particular line of goods that they have and said -- set up in an area for a short period based on that concept and low level of activity in that neighborhood. the concept of permitting individuals for certain spots.
we don't think it's the best model. we would just let individual operators as they see fit take advantage of that. taking the burden off the operator since they are not using the space frequently and putting it on the city upfront. >> thank you for that. >> commissioner white? >> yes. i just want to be clear. the process if you have your business license and you are in a kiosks or pop up, you can go to any neighborhood that you want to in san francisco? >> you mean in the mobile retail? >> in our district we have a couple of mobile retails that have popped up and i know there is concerns through residents and the merchants how they can do that, but no one is stopping them. >> just like with any laws there are those that violate it. i think i'm aware of the ones you are referring to that set up just through ignorance or a
lot of people don't know whether it's permitted or not. traffic code permits vending from a vehicle. that's something we are trying to change with this program. there is no provision where someone can september -- set up in a business district other than food with a mobile food ordinance. >> ortiz? >> yes. i see the guideline. the key thing was in your presentation, they want to stay at a particular location. so that concerns me because it's a small business, you invest the time in marketing and lease and mobile retail comes and --
cherry picks and bigger companies that have the resource can do this. like on christmas, we can have a mobile retail. it's not necessarily catering to the small business community. just like the smaller retail, it was entry way i can't afford a lease but i can buy a catering truck. i don't like the model too much because it leaves room for cherry picking and small businesses they invest a lot of effort in brick and mortar location. we should maybe even consult on the grid like how do they get happy balance against brick and mortar competitors. they are selling something. >> i agree, we are soliciting feedback. there is a great amount of concern around the holiday period because that's
where retailers make the bulk of the profit for the year. that's what we are trying to incorporate where cherry picking at that time where this hopefully isn't a contributor to that and if that includes blackout dates. that feedback, if you have personal experience or know of others that i can to, getting their concerns identified to help develop strategies to accommodate them. >> thank you for the presentation. it's really helpful on your efforts, by the way. >> commissioner dwight? >> i do think that it's a case for these mobile retail, not the food related ones but the goods, to be successful in any venue you have to be there and serving whoever your client base is. the ones i read about
are essentially marketing students. they are designed to get exposure for online retailer who doesn't have a physical presence and wants to get thought and have hands-on exposure to their products or eyeglass company was the one that came to town and got in trouble for not being able to put their school bus anywhere. i understand that and certainly these mobile retail vehicles are interesting for things like events and parking lot scenarios where you have a wide open space and you are not blocking other retailers. i don't have where the compromise ends up being. but i guess we'll sort through all of that. >> in i other commissioner comments? >> is the planning commission involved in this as well? >> we engage with the planning
department at the outset of our development activities. they a direct play in this because it's not on private property where zoning restrictions would take place. the extent they are involved in now is they have a conditional use permit and many receive them same day to services on private property. when they became aware that they couldn't park their vehicle on the street for those purposes then the planning department was able to facilitate that and accommodate them with existing regulations. >> is there a citation if someone pulls up down in fillmore district and is not permitted, do they get cited or asked to move on. >> it is clear it is illegal
from a vehicle. it should be a citable offense like any code violation. in these cases of requires the operator to move along without any citation. >> okay. well, i just want to thank you, christian for heading up this group. it's not an easy one because when we first talked about this, people were saying what are you bringing this up for. the thing is we really needed to get in front of this issue, instead of waiting until you saw a lot of these mobile retailers. they were popping up on the street and i do know the office of small businesses was getting calls. we were getting calls on castro street because they were parking there and 18th street for a while. i want to thank you for pulling all the
merchant groups together and like commissioner dwight says, none of these other cities have seen this yet. i think people may copy us to see what we do. i do believe in what you said too, in smaller towns, where you don't have this type of access, i can see this working and in san francisco, i see the opposite. for a while there, i was seeing a lot of this em and all of a sudden a lot of them went away too. i can't thank you enough for taking this on because i know you are hearing it from both ends. good and bad and sometimes people are really passionate about their feelings on this issue. i want to thank you for heading this up and taking this on because it was something that needed to be discussed. you are doing a great job with this, thank you. >> do we have